Debates between Chris Grayling and John Bercow

There have been 27 exchanges between Chris Grayling and John Bercow

1 Sat 19th October 2019 European Union (Withdrawal) Acts
Department for Exiting the European Union
2 interactions (248 words)
2 Thu 18th July 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Department for Transport
5 interactions (209 words)
3 Thu 2nd May 2019 No-Deal Brexit: Cross-channel Freight
Department for Transport
2 interactions (76 words)
4 Thu 21st March 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Department for Transport
4 interactions (180 words)
5 Tue 5th March 2019 EU Exit Preparations: Ferry Contracts
Department for Transport
5 interactions (170 words)
6 Thu 14th February 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Department for Transport
8 interactions (165 words)
7 Thu 10th January 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Department for Transport
5 interactions (169 words)
8 Tue 8th January 2019 Seaborne Freight
Department for Transport
2 interactions (64 words)
9 Thu 22nd November 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Department for Transport
5 interactions (246 words)
10 Thu 11th October 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Department for Transport
8 interactions (316 words)
11 Thu 5th July 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Department for Transport
11 interactions (469 words)
12 Tue 5th June 2018 Airports National Policy Statement
Department for Transport
5 interactions (2,071 words)
13 Mon 4th June 2018 Rail Timetabling
Department for Transport
2 interactions (123 words)
14 Thu 24th May 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Department for Transport
22 interactions (873 words)
15 Wed 16th May 2018 Points of Order
Department for Transport
3 interactions (255 words)
16 Wed 16th May 2018 East Coast Main Line
Department for Transport
4 interactions (1,908 words)
17 Wed 16th May 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (548 words)
18 Thu 19th April 2018 Points of Order
Department for Transport
3 interactions (195 words)
19 Thu 1st March 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Department for Transport
5 interactions (169 words)
20 Mon 5th February 2018 Points of Order
Department for Transport
5 interactions (596 words)
21 Mon 5th February 2018 Rail Update
Department for Transport
5 interactions (602 words)
22 Thu 18th January 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Department for Transport
2 interactions (69 words)
23 Thu 30th November 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Department for Transport
5 interactions (293 words)
24 Thu 19th October 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Department for Transport
2 interactions (165 words)
25 Mon 9th October 2017 Monarch Airlines
Department for Transport
5 interactions (262 words)
26 Mon 17th July 2017 HS2 Update
Department for Transport
10 interactions (2,194 words)
27 Thu 13th July 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Department for Transport
8 interactions (324 words)

European Union (Withdrawal) Acts

Debate between Chris Grayling and John Bercow
Saturday 19th October 2019

(11 months, 2 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Department for Exiting the European Union
Mr Speaker Hansard

A three-minute limit now applies.

Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling (Epsom and Ewell) (Con) - Hansard
19 Oct 2019, 1:45 p.m.

I was planning to be brief anyway, Mr Speaker. I campaigned to leave, but at every stage of the campaign, I argued that we should leave on good terms with our friends and neighbours and leave with a deal. I supported the previous Prime Minister in what she sought to achieve, and I pay tribute to this Prime Minister for what he has done in bringing forward a deal. After a year of turbulence in this place, when we have not really come near to finding anything a majority in this House can agree on, it is absolutely clear today that we are much closer than we have been to something that this Parliament is willing to give its support to. I pay tribute to the Prime Minister for achieving that and strongly urge the House to unite behind this agreement.

I want to talk specifically about the amendment from my right hon. Friend the Member for West Dorset (Sir Oliver Letwin), and I want everyone on both sides of the House to think about this. I know him well—he has his reasons for tabling it—but the consequence of it is that this House, at a moment when the nation is watching us to see what decision we will take about the deal that has been brought back from Brussels, may decline to form an opinion. That is the consequence of passing the amendment—that we will not decide today whether we support the deal.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Chris Grayling and John Bercow
Thursday 18th July 2019

(1 year, 2 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Department for Transport
Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling - Parliament Live - Hansard
18 Jul 2019, 9:34 a.m.

Labour Members say “Hear, hear!” because they do not want to hear the truth, which is that we are putting in place schemes that will benefit road safety, that will improve journey times and that will be good for our economy. The A417 improvement is a much needed scheme that does all those things, and it will be an essential part of this Government’s future planning. It is simply a tragedy that Labour wants to scrap it.

Mr Speaker Hansard

I call Mr Barry Sheerman.

Break in Debate

Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling - Parliament Live - Hansard

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the current £700 million upgrade to the east coast main line, the brand new trains arriving on the east coast main line, the new trains the Government are providing for the Newcastle-upon-Tyne metro, our plans to reopen the Blythe to Ashington rail line with financial support from Nexus, the opening of the last leg of motorway-grade road between Newcastle and London, and of course the mayor of Teesside’s exciting plans for his airport. One of the most extraordinary things I have come across recently is that the shadow Secretary of State proposes nationalisation in every field of transport except for his local airport, on which he is opposed to nationalisation. [Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard

Order. Let us hear Mr Pursglove. Blurt it out, man.

No-Deal Brexit: Cross-channel Freight

Debate between Chris Grayling and John Bercow
Thursday 2nd May 2019

(1 year, 5 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Department for Transport
Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling - Parliament Live - Hansard

That is precisely why these contracts had early cancellation provisions that enabled us to close the contracts down at a cost that was much lower than the full cost of the contracts.

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard

Thank you. We come now to the business question, which is not as heavily subscribed as is often the case. Therefore, I think I can say with complete conviction that this session should finish no later than 1 o’clock and preferably long before then.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Chris Grayling and John Bercow
Thursday 21st March 2019

(1 year, 6 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Department for Transport
Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling - Parliament Live - Hansard

rose—

Mr Speaker Hansard
21 Mar 2019, 10:40 a.m.

Well, the Secretary of State appears to wish to say something. [Interruption.] Order. We are not going to continue the debate. If the Secretary of State wishes to correct the record or to explain in a sentence why he does not feel any need to do so, that would be acceptable.

Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling - Parliament Live - Hansard
21 Mar 2019, 10:40 a.m.

I simply refer to the section of the hon. Gentleman’s speech where he says that air passenger duty has been frozen. He goes on to say:

“This is not a sensible approach to transport policy.”

So it is exactly what he says.

Mr Speaker Hansard

Well, very well. The matter will have to rest there. I simply say to the shadow Secretary of State that I might well have been intrigued to read the speech anyway, but in light of the fact that there are these five references, which he has just advertised to the House and the nation, I am now impelled to do so. It sounds a diverting read and it will form part of my late-night consumption in the days and weeks ahead and I am deeply grateful to him.

EU Exit Preparations: Ferry Contracts

Debate between Chris Grayling and John Bercow
Tuesday 5th March 2019

(1 year, 6 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Department for Transport
Mr Speaker Hansard
5 Mar 2019, 1:56 p.m.

I say to the hon. and learned Lady that I am chairing this debate. The hon. and learned Lady will speak in full, or otherwise, if and when she catches the eye of the Chair. Thank you.

Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling - Hansard
5 Mar 2019, 1:56 p.m.

Mr Speaker, I simply reiterate: the settlement that we have reached with Eurotunnel is going to pay for improved facilities at the border, to improve flow, to make sure that our border through the tunnel works more smoothly in future, particularly in the post-Brexit world. That is a simple, factual point about the settlement that has been reached.

Break in Debate

Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling - Parliament Live - Hansard

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I would just like to inform the House that the annex containing the requirements for Eurotunnel to spend money on improvements at the borders has now been published on the Government website.

Mr Speaker Hansard

That is an extremely helpful point of order from the right hon. Gentleman, and I thank him. It is by way of being a public information notice and I take it very much in that spirit.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Chris Grayling and John Bercow
Thursday 14th February 2019

(1 year, 7 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Department for Transport
Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling - Parliament Live - Hansard
14 Feb 2019, 10:13 a.m.

At Christmastime, Arklow confirmed in writing, and we have copies of that—[Hon. Members: “In January.”] At Christmastime, Arklow confirmed in writing that it was backing the proposition. [Interruption.] At Christmastime, Mr Speaker. I hear the sedentary comments but I am absolutely clear: at Christmastime.

Mr Speaker Hansard
14 Feb 2019, 10:14 a.m.

The hon. Lady does not look satisfied, but I hope that she is nevertheless enjoying her birthday, upon which I congratulate her.

Break in Debate

Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling - Parliament Live - Hansard

Absolutely. My hon. Friend knows my commitment to making sure that we continue those links to Newquay. They are an extremely important part of Cornwall’s economy, and I will be working to ensure that nothing happens to interrupt those services.

Mr Speaker Hansard

We are running late, but we have got to hear the sound of Shipley.

Break in Debate

Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling - Parliament Live - Hansard
14 Feb 2019, 10:34 a.m.

Because these are matters for a commercial company. I think that it is still the right thing for a British Government to do to support British start-up businesses, but these are commercial matters for those businesses.

Mr Speaker Hansard

A sentence without subordinate clauses: I call Anna Soubry.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Chris Grayling and John Bercow
Thursday 10th January 2019

(1 year, 8 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Department for Transport
Mr Speaker Hansard
10 Jan 2019, 9:40 a.m.

Order. I listened to the right hon. Gentleman’s question with great interest. It was tangential to the substantive question, and I just say gently to him that I had been thinking of offering him an Adjournment debate on the matter, until I realised that he had, in fact, just conducted one.

Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling - Parliament Live - Hansard
10 Jan 2019, 9:40 a.m.

Indeed he has, Mr Speaker.

I would simply remind the right hon. Gentleman of two factors. First, the disruptive attack at Gatwick was unprecedented anywhere in the world, and as a result we have been approached by airports around the world to learn more about how we tackled that. Secondly, as I have said, I am not able to discuss in the House the nature of the technology used for security reasons, but when a similar issue arose at Heathrow earlier this week, the response was very rapid indeed.

Break in Debate

Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling - Parliament Live - Hansard
10 Jan 2019, 10:33 a.m.

We are confident that this was a proper procurement process, handled by the procurement team in my Department in the normal way.

Mr Speaker Hansard
10 Jan 2019, 10:33 a.m.

Finally—what a difficult choice. I call Huw Merriman.

Seaborne Freight

Debate between Chris Grayling and John Bercow
Tuesday 8th January 2019

(1 year, 8 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Department for Transport
Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling - Parliament Live - Hansard

Mr Speaker, that is an inappropriate thing for any Member to say, and I am not going to respond to it.

Mr Speaker Hansard
8 Jan 2019, 1:58 p.m.

I simply say that the Secretary of State is perfectly entitled to his assessment of whether it is appropriate in political terms. No breach of order has taken place procedurally, but the Secretary of State has made his judgment, and I accept that.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Chris Grayling and John Bercow
Thursday 22nd November 2018

(1 year, 10 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Department for Transport
Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling - Hansard

We would dispute that we have done anything to disadvantage Sheffield to help Govia Thameslink Railway. We are of course doing a massive upgrade programme on the midland main line. I pay tribute to all those involved in the recent Derby station remodelling. Many projects have gone badly wrong; that did not. It was handled very well. Further improvements are happening up and down that line, as part of the biggest modernisation programme on that route since Victorian times. That work will continue. We will do everything to make sure, if we can, that the timetable remains as intact as possible as those changes happen.

Mr Speaker Hansard
22 Nov 2018, 9:48 a.m.

I do not wish to disappoint the hon. Member for Isle of Wight (Mr Seely), but he does have Question 9, which will be reached and is grouped, so it is mildly inconvenient to call him any earlier than that. We are keeping him waiting, but it will be worth waiting for, I feel sure.

Break in Debate

Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling - Parliament Live - Hansard

Improving transport connections for the south-west is essential, and it is one of the parts of the country that needs those improved transport links. A range of things are happening: the number of local trains within Devon and Cornwall is increasing, new trains are now serving that route, and road improvements have taken place. Now, there will be a better link for business into Heathrow airport. This is all part of making sure that we deliver on our promises for better transport in the south-west.

Mr Speaker Hansard
22 Nov 2018, 10:34 a.m.

Order.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Chris Grayling and John Bercow
Thursday 11th October 2018

(1 year, 11 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Department for Transport
Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling - Parliament Live - Hansard

As the hon. Lady will be aware, Northern rail’s performance has improved markedly since the difficult days in June and July. It is now running more services than it did prior to the timetable change. As for what we will do, we will replace every train with a newer and more reliable train, and we will get rid of all the old Pacer trains that run into and out of Liverpool which, frankly, should have gone to the scrapyard years ago. I hope that she will welcome the investment we have put into Liverpool Lime Street station. I am going there next week to see the long overdue work that has been done to upgrade that station.

Mr Speaker Hansard

I call Mark Garnier. Not here.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard

I am not doing anything about it at all, but I hope that the Secretary of State might be.

Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling - Parliament Live - Hansard
11 Oct 2018, 10:31 a.m.

What we are doing is making up for the fact that the last Labour Government in power established a zero-investment set of franchises in the north, with no new trains and no new investment. We are replacing, with either a brand new train or a refurbished-as-new train, every single train on the Northern and TransPennine franchises, with more seats, more carriages and a better deal for commuters. It has taken longer than I would have wished, but it is going to make a difference.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard

I am not sure that my view is of any great interest to the House, but I am sure that it will want to know what the Secretary of State has to say to my somewhat irritated colleague.

Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling - Parliament Live - Hansard
11 Oct 2018, 10:34 a.m.

I am happy to meet my hon. Friend to discuss this. I do not expect any of the contingencies that we have in place for a no-deal Brexit to be needed, because I am confident that we will reach a sensible agreement, but I would be happy to discuss this with him.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Chris Grayling and John Bercow
Thursday 5th July 2018

(2 years, 2 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Department for Transport
Mr Speaker Hansard
5 Jul 2018, 9:47 a.m.

In relation to ports.

Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling - Parliament Live - Hansard
5 Jul 2018, 9:47 a.m.

As the hon. Lady will be aware, this is not really a transport matter. Our ports will be ready, and our plans for how we manage our borders will be ready for all eventualities, but I want, I believe and I expect that we will have a sensible agreement with the European Union that avoids the charging of tariffs. That is certainly what the EU wants, and it is what we want.

Break in Debate

Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling - Parliament Live - Hansard

It is simply not true that the Northern franchise was let on a no-growth basis, although it was under the Labour party when it was in power. One reason why we have had the timetable problems, apart from the delay to the electrification—the investment that we are putting into the railway line from Manchester to Blackpool—is that we were in May introducing hundreds of new services, additional services and longer trains throughout the Northern rail region. That is hardly a zero-growth franchise.

Mr Speaker Hansard
5 Jul 2018, 9:58 a.m.

One thing is clear to me: if the hon. Member for Blackley and Broughton (Graham Stringer) encounters road congestion, his antidote to it is to pursue what might be called an indirect route.

Break in Debate

Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling - Parliament Live - Hansard

As I keep saying clearly, we do not intend to put in place measures that would create long incoming queues at our ports. Our ports successfully support inward trade from around the world, and in the post-Brexit world we have no intention of changing that.

Mr Speaker Hansard
5 Jul 2018, 10:28 a.m.

Andrew Jones—I call Mr Jones.

Break in Debate

Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling - Hansard
5 Jul 2018, 10:38 a.m.

Before I respond to that question, I just say to the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr Skinner) that I had been under the impression that the meeting was already organised. If that is not the case, I will make sure that it is.

On clean transport, this is a central part of the Government’s strategy. It is why we are spending money on supporting low-emission bus vehicles and on encouraging people to buy low-emission vehicles. When we publish our Road to Zero strategy shortly, we will be setting out more of our plans to create a greener vehicle fleet on our roads.

Mr Speaker Hansard
5 Jul 2018, 10:39 a.m.

Order. Just before I call the right hon. Member for Birkenhead (Frank Field) to put his urgent question, I should remind the House—I hope it is a question of reminding the House of something of which it is already conscious—that we have very considerable pressure on the parliamentary timetable today. There is of course the business question, and there are two ministerial statements, but I have also to have regard to the level of interest in the debate on proxy voting. This urgent question will therefore not run for longer than 20 minutes. The Front Benchers must stick to time; otherwise, I am afraid they will have to be sat down. After the expiry of that 20 minutes, that’s it—we will move on to the next business.

Airports National Policy Statement

Debate between Chris Grayling and John Bercow
Tuesday 5th June 2018

(2 years, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Department for Transport
Chris Grayling Portrait The Secretary of State for Transport (Chris Grayling) - Parliament Live - Hansard
5 Jun 2018, 12:39 p.m.

With permission, Mr Speaker, I would like to make a statement about the proposed expansion of Heathrow airport.

The Government have a clear vision: to build a Britain fit for the future and a Britain with a prosperous jobs market and an economy that works for everyone. That is why I come to the House to mark an historic moment. Today I am laying before Parliament our final proposal for an airports national policy statement, which signals our commitment to securing global connectivity, creating tens of thousands of local jobs and apprenticeships, and boosting our economy for future generations by expanding Heathrow airport. It is an example of how the Government are taking forward their industrial strategy.

As you know, Mr Speaker, taking such a decision is never easy. This issue has been debated for half a century. My Department has met local residents and fully understands their strength of feeling. But this is a decision taken in the national interest, based on detailed evidence. In 2015, the independent Airports Commission concluded that a new north-west runway at Heathrow was the best scheme to deliver additional capacity, and in October 2016 we agreed. We ran two national consultations during 2017 and received more than 80,000 responses. All the points raised have been carefully considered, and today we are publishing the Government’s response.

To ensure fairness and transparency we appointed an independent consultation adviser, the former Court of Appeal judge, Sir Jeremy Sullivan. Our draft NPS was scrutinised by the Transport Committee, and I thank the Chair of the Committee and her team for the thoroughness of their work. I was pleased that they, like me and my colleagues in the Government, accepted the case for expansion and concluded that we are right to pursue development through an additional runway at Heathrow. We welcome and have acted on 24 out of 25 of its recommendations. Our response to the Committee is also being published today.

This country has one of the largest aviation sectors in the world, contributing £22 billion to our GDP, supporting half a million jobs, servicing 285 million passengers and transporting 2.6 million tonnes of freight last year. The time for action is now. Heathrow is already full, and the evidence shows that the remaining London airports will not be far behind. Despite Heathrow being the busiest two-runway airport in the world, its capacity constraints mean that it is falling behind its global competitors, impacting the UK’s economy and global trading opportunities.

Expansion at Heathrow will bring real benefits across the country, including a boost of up to £74 billion to passengers and the wider economy, providing better connections to growing world markets, and increasing flights to more long-haul destinations. Heathrow is a nationally significant freight hub, carrying more freight by value than all other UK airports combined. A third runway would enable it to nearly double its current freight capacity.

In addition—this is crucial—this is a project with benefits that reach far beyond London. We expect up to 15% of slots on a new runway to facilitate domestic connections across the UK, spreading the benefits of expansion to our great nations and regions. As well as new routes, I would expect there to be increased competition on existing routes, giving greater choice to passengers. I say very clearly that regional connectivity is one of the key reasons for the decision we have taken.

I recognise the strong convictions that many Members of this House and their constituents have on this issue, and the impacts on those living in the local area. It is for that reason that we have included strong mitigations in the NPS to limit those impacts. Communities will be supported by up to £2.6 billion towards compensation, noise insulation and improvements to public amenities— 10 times bigger than under the 2009 third runway proposal. This package is comparable with some of the most generous in the world and includes £700 million for noise insulation for homes and £40 million to insulate schools and community buildings. The airport has offered 125% of the full market value for homes in the compulsory and voluntary purchase zones, plus stamp duty, moving costs and legal fees, as well as a legally binding noise envelope and more predictable periods of respite.

For the first time ever, we expect and intend to deliver a six-and-a-half-hour ban on scheduled night flights. But my ambitions do not stop there. If the House agrees and the NPS is designated and the scheme progresses, I will encourage Heathrow and airlines to work with local communities to propose longer periods of respite during a further consultation on night flight restrictions. We will grant development consent only if we are satisfied that a new runway would not impact the UK’s compliance with air quality obligations. Advances in technology also mean that new planes are cleaner, greener and quieter than the ones they are replacing.

Earlier this year a community engagement board was established, and we appointed Rachel Cerfontyne as its independent chair. It will focus on building relations between Heathrow and its communities, considering the design of the community compensation fund, which could be worth up to £50 million a year, and holding the airport to account when it comes to delivering on its commitments today and into the future.

There has been much debate about the costs of this scheme. Our position could not be clearer: expansion will be privately financed. Crucially, expansion must also remain affordable to consumers. We took a firm step when I asked the industry regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority, to ensure the scheme remains affordable while meeting the needs of current and future passengers. This process has already borne fruit, with the identification of potential savings of up to £2.5 billion. I am confident that that process can and should continue, that further cost savings can be identified and that the design of the expansion can continue to evolve to better reflect the needs of consumers. That is why I have recommissioned the Civil Aviation Authority to continue to work with industry to deliver the ambition that I set out in 2016 to keep landing charges at or close to current levels. That work will include gateway reviews, independent scrutiny and benchmarking of proposals, which I know are of paramount importance to British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and the wider airline community.

I want to talk now about scheme delivery and ownership. The north-west runway scheme put forward by Heathrow was selected by the Government following a rigorous process. Since then, Heathrow has continued to make strong progress, having already consulted on its scheme design and airspace principles earlier this year. Some stakeholders have suggested that we should now look again at who delivers expansion. While I, and we, will always retain an open mind, my current assessment is that caution is needed at this stage. Heathrow is an operational airport under a single management, and I am clear that it is currently the only credible promoter that could deliver this transformational scheme in its entirety.

I welcome the Civil Aviation Authority’s April consultation, which expects Heathrow to engage in good faith with third parties to ensure that expansion is delivered in a way that benefits the consumer. However, that needs to be balanced against the need for timely delivery, and that is why my Department will be working closely with Heathrow to enable delivery of the new runway by its current target date of 2026.

Heathrow is already Britain’s best-connected airport by road and rail. That will be further strengthened by future improvements to the Piccadilly line, new links to Heathrow through Crossrail, connections to High Speed 2 via an interchange at Old Oak Common and plans for western and southern rail access to the airport. On 24 April, I met the industry and financial backers who can potentially come forward with plans to deliver the new southern rail access to the airport.

Even with today’s announcement, a new operational runway at Heathrow is still a number of years away. The Airports Commission recommended that there would also be a need for other airports to make more intensive use of their existing infrastructure, and we consulted on that in the aviation strategy call for evidence last year.

Apart from Heathrow, I would also like to confirm today that the Government support other airports making best use of their existing runways. However, we recognise that the development of airports can have negative as well as positive local impacts, including on noise levels. We therefore consider that any proposals should be judged on their individual merits by the appropriate planning authority, taking careful account of all relevant considerations, and particularly economic and environmental impacts.

Furthermore, in April we set out our next steps, which will see us work closely with industry, business, consumer and environmental groups to develop an aviation strategy that sets out the long-term policy direction for aviation to 2050 and beyond, while addressing the changing needs and expectations of passengers. It will set out a framework for future sustainable growth across the United Kingdom, how we plan to manage our congested airspace, and how we plan to use innovative technology to deliver cleaner, quieter and quicker journeys for the benefit of passengers and communities. Airspace modernisation has to be taken forward irrespective of the decision on the proposed new runway, and to do so we expect multiple airports across the south of England to bring forward consultations on their proposals on how to manage the airspace around their locations.

Returning to Heathrow, the planning system involves two separate processes: one to set the policy—effectively outline planning consent—which is our national policy statement, and then, if the House votes in favour of it and it is then designated, a second process for securing the detailed development consent that the airport will require. The next steps would therefore be for Heathrow to develop its plans, including details of the scheme design and airspace change, and hold a further consultation to allow the public a further say on the next phase of Heathrow’s plans and additional opportunities to have their voices heard. Any application for development consent will of course be considered carefully and with an open mind, based on the evidence provided. The process includes a public examination by the independent Planning Inspectorate before a final decision is made.

Alongside the NPS today, I have published a comprehensive package of materials that I hope and believe will enable Members of the House to make an informed decision ahead of the vote. It is very comprehensive, and I hope that it will provide answers to the questions that Members will have.

I hope that Members will feel that the scheme is crucial to our national interest and that we need to work together to deliver it in order to create what I believe is an absolutely vital legacy for the future of this country. I hope that Members across the House will get behind the plan and support this nationally strategically important project, and I commend this statement to the House.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard
5 Jun 2018, 1:58 p.m.

My advice in the first instance is to see, here and now, whether the Secretary of State can provide any illumination on that matter. Depending on what he says, I might have further advice for the right hon. Lady.

Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling - Parliament Live - Hansard

Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. The formal process in statute is that the vote has to take place within 21 sitting days of my tabling the NPS. That took place this morning, so the vote has to take place within 21 sitting days of now. The exact date will be a matter for the business managers, but we will want to ensure that Members have sufficient time to look at the material tabled today. As for written questions, I will make sure that my Department expedites responses to issues raised by Members so that they can study them in good time before the vote.

Mr Speaker Hansard

I am grateful to the Secretary of State for that response to the point of order raised by the right hon. Member for Putney (Justine Greening). Flowing from it, my perhaps unsurprising advice to her is that she should press ahead with her tabling of questions with dispatch. In the light of the commitment that the Secretary of State has given, it is to be expected that colleagues interested in this matter, and the Chair, will keenly attend to the speed and comprehensiveness with which ministerial replies to those, in effect, urgent questions are provided.

Rail Timetabling

Debate between Chris Grayling and John Bercow
Monday 4th June 2018

(2 years, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Department for Transport
Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling - Hansard

The important thing to do is to make sure that these problems are sorted out. It may be that at the end of this there is a franchise change, but I want to do anything like that in the right way, in the right timeframe, and in a way that is justifiable. I have to fulfil contractual commitments. I have to look at where culpability lies. We need to go through that process first. In the meantime, having short-formation trains on Southern, which otherwise is performing pretty well, is completely unacceptable, and it needs to fix that straight away.

Mr Speaker Hansard
4 Jun 2018, 6:08 p.m.

Having heard the hon. Member for Brighton, Kemptown (Lloyd Russell-Moyle) chuntering from a sedentary position, perhaps we can now hear him on his feet.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Chris Grayling and John Bercow
Thursday 24th May 2018

(2 years, 4 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Department for Transport
Mr Speaker Hansard

I must tell the hon. Gentleman that one of his constituents, not very far from here, has been listening intently to his question.

Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling - Parliament Live - Hansard
24 May 2018, 9:41 a.m.

I know indeed, Mr Speaker—in fact, he used to be a constituent of mine and is now benefiting from the wonderful environment that is the Isle of Wight. My hon. Friend has been an excellent champion for it since his election. I can assure him that the Rail Minister, my hon. Friend the Member for Orpington (Joseph Johnson), and I will be taking careful note of the plans as they come through, and we will work with him to try to find the best way to ensure that his constituents have the best service that it is possible to deliver to them in future.

Mr Speaker Hansard
24 May 2018, 9:41 a.m.

I call Tom Tugendhat—where is the fella? He has obviously beetled out of the Chamber. It is a pity that the hon. Member for Tonbridge and Malling is not here, but we will bear up stoically and try to manage without him.

Break in Debate

Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling - Hansard
24 May 2018, 9:44 a.m.

I commend my right hon. Friend for his very good question. The transition to digital technology basically means that in future, rather than having a red-amber-green signal by the trackside, the signalling is done automatically from the cab of a train. Each train will know how far it is to the train in front. It is therefore possible to manage the network more efficiently, to run trains safely closer to each other and to deliver more capacity for passengers.

Mr Speaker Hansard

It all sounds very sophisticated, although it is a bit above my pay grade, I am bound to say.

Break in Debate

Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling - Parliament Live - Hansard

Of course the arrival of HS2, with projected future growth in passenger numbers at our airports, will provide an alternative and will provide for a bit of competition between airports, which is no bad thing. The hon. Gentleman is right about that, but I do not think it is either one or the other.

Mr Speaker Hansard
24 May 2018, 10:06 a.m.

Order. The hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull East (Karl Turner) has had to be away for a period. We have missed him, and I think I speak for colleagues in warmly welcoming him back to the Chamber.

Break in Debate

Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling - Hansard

No, I am afraid it is because the hon. Gentleman does not understand how ports operate today. It is not necessary to stop every lorry at a border—indeed, every lorry is not stopped at the border—to have a free flow of trade. Countries inside the European Union and countries that have no connection with the European Union manage to operate a free flow through ports and across borders, and that is what we will do after we leave.

Mr Speaker Hansard
24 May 2018, 10:17 a.m.

I call Clive Efford.

Break in Debate

Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling - Hansard

First of all, the hon. Gentleman has not been following things too closely, because my recollection is that when I was in this House yesterday afternoon I expressly talked about the issues with the timetabling.

Secondly, Northern does not have a shortage in overall terms of drivers. The problem has been caused by the operational difficulties that resulted from, first, Network Rail’s failure to deliver the electrification to the schedule that was expected on the line to Bolton, and, secondly, from Network Rail’s failure to finalise timetables in time. That has been the prime reason for disruption, which was not helped, I might add, by an unnecessary work to rule by one of the unions.

What has happened has been unacceptable for passengers, but I also remind the hon. Gentleman that this is the most devolved franchise in England. The management of the franchise is shared by my Department and northern leaders through Rail North, so it is not simply a question of my Department. I will be working now to see whether Rail North together has done enough of a job in monitoring these problems.

Mr Speaker Hansard
24 May 2018, 10:23 a.m.

I do not wish to be unkind to the Secretary of State, and he has certainly given us very full information, but let me say this. I gently chided the Minister next to him, the hon. Member for Wealden (Ms Ghani), for a mildly lengthy reply to one question, but he seems determined to outdo her. It is not a competition. Their replies are extremely informative, and I thank them for that, but we do not have unlimited time, although I do try to extend the envelope.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard

I note that, and I think that it will be on the record.

Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling - Parliament Live - Hansard

I do not think the hon. Gentleman’s office has been in touch.

Mr Speaker Hansard
24 May 2018, 9:30 a.m.

I am sure the matter will be sorted out erelong; I very much hope it will.

Break in Debate

Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling - Parliament Live - Hansard
24 May 2018, 10:40 a.m.

It is nice to finish with a degree of hokum from the Opposition. Lancashire has benefited, for example, from the Heysham relief road—connecting two smaller centres in a way that is absolutely vital if we are to unlock parts of the economy—and, starting later this year, all the small towns in Lancashire are getting new trains. Once we have bedded in the timetable and overcome these infuriating problems, the Northern Rail franchise will deliver more services in Lancashire—and, indeed, in Copeland, where my hon. Friend the Member for Copeland (Trudy Harrison), who has now gone, had the pleasure last weekend of travelling on the west Cumbria line’s first Sunday service in decades.

Mr Speaker Hansard
24 May 2018, 10:40 a.m.

That is very useful to know. Thank you.

Points of Order

Debate between Chris Grayling and John Bercow
Wednesday 16th May 2018

(2 years, 4 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Department for Transport
Mr Speaker Hansard
16 May 2018, 1:50 p.m.

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman. If the Secretary of State wishes to respond, he can.

Chris Grayling Portrait The Secretary of State for Transport (Chris Grayling) - Parliament Live - Hansard
16 May 2018, 1:57 p.m.

Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. As I indicated to you earlier, my officials provided a copy to the hon. Member for Middlesbrough (Andy McDonald) so that he could prepare his response to my statement in good time—about 45 minutes, in fact, before the statement started. I judge that to be the best way of approaching what is a market-sensitive announcement, and it did not require me to do what is done, for example, on Budget day, when no advance notice is provided.

Mr Speaker Hansard
16 May 2018, 1:50 p.m.

I think that this matter is best continued, if discussion on it is required, outside the Chamber. I have made my position clear on the subject of the statement being made today. I say this to the Secretary of State, who is not responsible for scheduling: there will be people who feel very unhappy that on a day when we have an Opposition day debate on Grenfell, which is heavily subscribed, a very substantial amount of time has been taken up, inevitably, by this statement. People will be very unhappy about that. I say to Members on the Treasury Bench that they ought to think about these matters extremely carefully from now on, because my priority is to defend the rights of the House of Commons, and I will do that against all comers. I have never been worried about the verdict of the Executive, and I am not going to start now.

East Coast Main Line

Debate between Chris Grayling and John Bercow
Wednesday 16th May 2018

(2 years, 4 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Department for Transport
Chris Grayling Portrait The Secretary of State for Transport (Chris Grayling) - Hansard
16 May 2018, 12:58 p.m.

Mr Speaker, I would like to make a statement about the future of the east coast main line. As was made clear in the point of order that we have just heard, it has been quite important to try today to handle the release of this information in as controlled a way as possible. We did, of course, approach the Opposition earlier this morning, and explained how we were going to communicate the information to them. My officials shared this statement with the Opposition parties shortly after 12 o’clock, at approximately the same time that Stagecoach was itself told about this—both would expect to be given warning of what is a significant and, for them, market and price sensitive announcement.

Let me set out what I have to say today. The House will recall that, back in November, I set out details of our rail strategy, and our plans to integrate the operation of track and trains. I also indicated that one of the key parts of that plan was to address what were then well-documented problems on the east coast main line by creating a new, integrated rail operation on that route.

In February, I gave the House an update on the financial problems on the east coast main line, and indicated that the current franchise would run out of money within months. This is not because the route is failing—it continues, and will continue, to generate substantial returns for the Government, and the most recent figures show passenger satisfaction at 92%. The route has its challenges, but it is not a failing railway. However, as I explained in February, Stagecoach and Virgin Trains got their bid wrong and they are now paying a price. They will have lost nearly £200 million meeting their contracted commitments. This means that taxpayers have not lost out because revenues are lower than predicted; only Virgin Trains East Coast and its parent companies have made losses at this time.

As the Brown review said in 2013, in an effective railway industry franchises can occasionally fail. But we do not, and cannot, expect companies to hold unlimited liabilities when they take on franchises—they would simply not bid for them if they had to. This means that franchises sometimes do fail, which is why a Conservative Government previously created the structures for the operator of last resort to ensure that we can always guarantee passenger services if franchises cannot continue.

In my statement in February, I said that I was considering two options to continue delivering passenger services in the run-up to the creation of the new east coast partnership. The first was to permit Stagecoach to continue to operate the railway on a not-for-profit basis until 2020, and to permit it to earn a performance-related payment at the end of its contract. The alternative was to implement an operator of last resort, bringing the route back into the temporary control of my Department, as provided for in legislation. Last autumn I established a team to prepare this as an alternative to use if required.

In the past two months, my Department has carried out a full analysis of these options, focusing on how each performs against the key principles that I set out in February: protecting passenger interests; ensuring value for money for taxpayers; and supporting investment and improvement in the railway. I am today publishing my Department’s assessment. To summarise, the analysis suggested that the case was very finely balanced, with some elements favouring a contract with the existing operator and others favouring the operator of last resort. When judged against my key principles, neither option was obviously superior. I have, however, taken another factor into account. I want to make the smoothest possible transition to the creation of the new east coast partnership. Given this finely balanced judgment, I have taken into account broader considerations and decided to use the current difficulties to drive forward sooner with our long-term plans for the east coast partnership.

I have decided to begin the transition process towards creating the new partnership now. This will be in the long-term interests of passengers, as every member of staff on the railway will be focused solely on delivering an excellent service for the future. I am therefore informing the House that I will terminate Virgin Trains East Coast’s contract on 24 June 2018. I plan to use a period of operator of last resort control to shape the new partnership. On the same day, we will start with the launch of the new, long-term brand for the east coast main line through the recreation of one of Britain’s iconic rail brands, the London and North Eastern Railway.

The team that have been working for me since last autumn to form the operator of last resort will take immediate control of passenger services, and will then begin the task of working with Network Rail to bring together the teams operating the track and trains on the LNER network. I am creating a new board, with an independent chair, to oversee the operation of the LNER route. The board will work with my Department to build the new partnership. It will have representatives of both the train operating team and Network Rail, as well as independent members, who importantly will ensure that the interests of other operators on the route are taken into account. I will appoint an interim chair shortly, and will then begin the recruitment process for a long-term appointment.

When the new LNER operation is fully formed, it will be a partnership between the public and private sectors. In all circumstances ownership of the infrastructure will remain in the public sector, but I believe that the railway is at its strongest when it is a genuine partnership between public and private. The final structure of the LNER will need to be shaped in conformity with the primary legislation that governs the industry, but my objective remains to move to a situation that leaves one single team operating the railway, with the simple goal of ensuring that they continue the work of the existing operators in improving services for passengers.

The rigorous process that we have followed underlines our commitment to ensuring that businesses operate under firm but fair rules. This Government are willing to take tough decisions when necessary to ensure that we build a stronger, fairer economy for all. I do not want these changes to cause passengers any anxiety at all. I want to reassure them that there will be no change to train services, the timetable will remain the same, tickets purchased for future travel—including season tickets—will continue to be valid, and customers will continue to be able to book their travel in the normal way. The ambitions that we have for services will also continue.

I want to reassure staff that the changes will not impact on their continued employment. It will be no different from a normal franchise change. Indeed, I want the LNER to have employees at its heart, so I am instructing the new board, working with my officials, to bring forward proposals that will enable employees to share directly in the success of the LNER as a pure train operator and subsequently as the new partnership. I am pleased to announce that Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands and the former chief executive of John Lewis, has agreed to provide the team with informal advice about how best to achieve this.

I have already set out my plans to restructure the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise, following the successful delivery of the Thameslink programme. I have indicated that we will separate it into two or more franchises after the end of the current contract in 2021. We have not yet reached a decision on how to operate Great Northern services. However, I have had initial discussions with the Mayor of London about the possibility of transferring some of these to London Overground, as recommended in Chris Gibb’s report. Any change will be subject to consultation, but there is also an operational case for integrating Great Northern services from King’s Cross into the new LNER operation. I am asking my officials and the new LNER board to do feasibility work on this option.

I have also taken official advice about the future of the passports currently held by Virgin Holdings and Stagecoach, determining whether they are fit and proper to operate on our railways. A multidisciplinary panel has considered the situation and recommended that both companies continue as train operators. The panel advised that there is no suggestion of either malpractice or malicious intent in what has happened. Clearly we have to be vigilant about future financial commitments, but in my view those organisations have paid a high financial and reputational price for what has happened. This Government operate firm but fair rules in their dealing with business, and I have been advised that it would not be reasonable to remove or place conditions on the companies’ passports. However, this decision is provisional and will be subject to further review at the point at which the VTEC contract is terminated.

It is vital that we remember the benefits that the railway has seen since privatisation. Passenger numbers have doubled. New trains with new technology are being rolled out right across the network. Innovation has driven up passenger satisfaction. We are seeing a huge amount of private investment in the future of our railway, and the lessons of the financial failure of the east coast main line are already being, and must continue to be, learned. But our ambitions are bigger.

In the rail strategy that we published last year, we began to look at the future of the industry in order to make the private sector model fit for changing travel patterns and new technology, and to focus on a better quality passenger experience. These advances would not be possible if we returned to nationalisation and lost private sector innovation. This work will conclude in time for the spending review to ensure that we improve how we enhance the private sector drive to improve services for passengers in the coming years in a way that is fair for taxpayers and passengers.

Of course, the passengers on the east coast main line are the most important people in all this, and 92% of them say that they are happy with their travel experience. The steps I have put in place today will help to deliver even more for them, with the recreation of one of Britain’s most iconic rail brands; the start of the proper recreation of an integrated regional rail operation; and the arrival of the brand new intercity express trains later this year, the majority of which will be built at Hitachi’s plant in Newton Aycliffe in County Durham, continuing to support 700 jobs in the north-east. I believe that this strategy will set this railway on a path to a better future. I commend this statement to the House.

Break in Debate

Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling - Parliament Live - Hansard
16 May 2018, 1:19 p.m.

That suggestion is not worthy of an hon. Member of this House. The hon. Gentleman knows that decisions about procurement are taken predominantly by officials, and I regret the fact that he has made such an allegation.

Mr Speaker Hansard

Forgive me, but I do not know whether it was an allegation. It happened very quickly, and I did not deem it in any way to be disorderly. I will look at the record later, but the hon. Gentleman has made his point and the Secretary of State has responded to it.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Chris Grayling and John Bercow
Wednesday 16th May 2018

(2 years, 4 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Cabinet Office
Mr Speaker Hansard
16 May 2018, 12:54 p.m.

No, no. No further point is required. I am very grateful to the hon. Gentleman.

Let me say to the House this: I have been advised by the Secretary of State for Transport, who beetled up to the Chair to catch a word with me during Prime Minister’s questions, that the statement is commercially sensitive. I have no reason to seek to gainsay the right hon. Gentleman. I do not know whether it is, but no doubt it has such an element. It is regrettable if there is not very substantial notice for the Opposition. [Interruption.] Order. I am dealing with the matter. I do not need any help from the Secretary of State. I am advised that the Opposition did in the end have approximately half an hour’s notice of this statement, and I am happy to hear from the Secretary of State if he wants to respond to the point of order.

On the point about the making of Government statements on Opposition days, this is by no means unprecedented, including under previous Governments. However, if I may say so—and I will—it is highly undesirable for there to be statements on very substantial public policy matters, in which the House will doubtless be interested, on an Opposition day. One looks to people traditionally with responsibility for safeguarding the rights of the House, of whom the Chair is one, but not the only one, to take these matters very seriously. This is an undesirable state of affairs, and if it were to happen on further occasions, a great many hon. and right hon. Members, not to mention interested parties in the Opposition day debates outside the Chamber, would view it, frankly, as an abuse. I hope that that message is heard loudly and clearly on the Government Front Bench, at the highest level, by the people in particular by whom it needs to be heard. If I have to make the point again on future occasions, and to use the powers of the Chair to facilitate the rights of this House in other ways, no matter what flak emanates from the Executive, I will do so in the future, as I have always done over the past nine years, and no one and nothing will stop me doing my duty by the House of Commons.

If the Secretary of State wants to respond to the point of order, he is very welcome to do so.

Chris Grayling Portrait The Secretary of State for Transport (Chris Grayling) - Parliament Live - Hansard

It is in the statement.

Mr Speaker Hansard
16 May 2018, 12:56 p.m.

Very well. I will indulge the hon. Member for Reigate (Crispin Blunt).

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his point of order, and I respect his sincerity, but it is not for me to initiate inquiries on this matter. I say two things to the hon. Gentleman whose point I otherwise take very seriously. First, let us see what is in the statement, and whether in fact there has been a leak. Secondly, were it to transpire that there had been, that would be a matter to be laid squarely at the door of the Department whose statement it is, and it would be incumbent on the Secretary of State in those circumstances to initiate any such inquiry. At this point, we should hear the statement. I thank the Secretary of State for approaching the Dispatch Box to deliver it.

Points of Order

Debate between Chris Grayling and John Bercow
Thursday 19th April 2018

(2 years, 5 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Department for Transport
Mr Speaker Hansard
19 Apr 2018, 10:37 a.m.

The Secretary of State is now poised, like a panther ready to pounce, so the hon. Gentleman may have secured, if not pre-empted, at any rate, early gratification, in that the Secretary of State is marching towards the Dispatch Box.

Chris Grayling Portrait The Secretary of State for Transport (Chris Grayling) - Parliament Live - Hansard
19 Apr 2018, 10:34 a.m.

Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. It is self-evident that last January, when we discussed these issues, the trains that will run on the midland main line had not been ordered and therefore did not exist. As things stand today—as things stood last summer and last April—there are already 120 mph-plus bi-mode trains operating on the Great Western main line. I have manufacturers beating a path to my door to build the trains for the midland main line; of course they are going to run.

Mr Speaker Hansard
19 Apr 2018, 10:38 a.m.

What I would say to the shadow Secretary of State is that he has made his point with force and alacrity, it is on the record, and the Secretary of State has responded in a similar vein. This dispute—it is a genuine dispute about what the facts are—can and doubtless will continue, but by means other than the point of order procedure. I hope that honour is served.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Chris Grayling and John Bercow
Thursday 1st March 2018

(2 years, 7 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Department for Transport
Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling - Hansard

Wisdom sometimes comes from our allies across the channel. I did see those remarks, and they are a timely reminder that a nationalised railway is not the panacea that some believe it is.

Mr Speaker Hansard
1 Mar 2018, 9:50 a.m.

It was not the Horsham perspective, but the international perspective. Why would I expect anything less from someone so illustrious as a man who served as my constituency chairman for three years, for which he deserved a medal?

Break in Debate

Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling - Hansard

I will take no lessons from the party that did nothing for transport in the south-west over a long period. This Government are doing things that Labour never did—dualling the A303, providing brand-new trains, and resignalling in Cornwall to increase the number of rail services. The hon. Gentleman should be embarrassed about his party’s record.

Mr Speaker Hansard
1 Mar 2018, 10:38 a.m.

Order. We are very short of time. In fact, we have run out of time. We have had some very comprehensive answers, for which we are grateful, but I will take only two more questions, if the questions and answers are very short.

Points of Order

Debate between Chris Grayling and John Bercow
Monday 5th February 2018

(2 years, 7 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Department for Transport
Mr Speaker Hansard

I am very grateful to the hon. Lady for her point of order and for her courtesy in giving me advance notice that she wished to raise this issue.

What I would say—and it is very commonplace for me to get points of order of this type—is that I understand her concern to achieve a meeting with Ministers on a matter which is of importance to her constituents. Clearly, she had that prior commitment. It is customary, but not to be guaranteed, that a commitment by a Minister will tend to be honoured by his or her successor. While I would hope that Ministers would be even-handed in their response to Back-Bench Members on both sides of the House, I have nevertheless to say to the hon. Lady that it is not for me to tell Ministers whom they should meet; it is for an incoming Minister to decide whether to continue with a meeting arranged by his or her predecessor.

If a Minister goes to an area and is principally concerned to have what would be called a political meeting with members of his or her party, that may be exceptionally irritating to a Member who is not a member of that party, but it is not, of itself, illegitimate. There is no bar on Ministers undertaking party political activity alongside their ministerial duties.

All that said, I think that this place works best when there is a basic courtesy and respect from one Member to another. The hon. Member for Blackpool North and Cleveleys (Paul Maynard), who was previously the serving Minister, has always struck me as a most courteous fellow, but, looking at the Treasury Bench, I have known the Secretary of State for at least two decades, and we have always enjoyed very cordial relations—he is a most courteous chap. As for the hon. Member for Orpington (Joseph Johnson), well, I think my cup runneth over—the hon. Gentleman is personable to a fault. I cannot understand why neither of them is willing to meet the hon. Lady—I would have thought that they would think it a most worthwhile enterprise.

Chris Grayling Portrait The Secretary of State for Transport (Chris Grayling) - Hansard

rose—

Mr Speaker Hansard

It looks as though an explanation is in the offing, because the Secretary of State is perched like a panther ready to pounce. Let us hear from the fella.

Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling - Hansard

Mr Speaker, as you know, I am regularly around this House. I am sure there will be plenty of opportunities for the hon. Lady to tap me on the shoulder and say, “Would it be possible to have a meeting? There has been a reshuffle.” I would be delighted to organise a meeting with the Department. However, what I cannot offer her is a commitment that, when I attend a meeting with Conservative councillors in a constituency, I will invite the Member from the neighbouring constituency at the same time. I am afraid that that issue is completely separate, but I am very happy to ensure that she has a meeting with Ministers.

Mr Speaker Hansard
5 Feb 2018, 2:30 p.m.

If I may say so—it may not please everybody—that seems to me to be a reasonable compromise, because what the hon. Lady really wants is to meet the Secretary of State. She may be interested in what the Secretary of State has to say to her, but I think she is, in particular, extremely interested in what she has to say to him. If they get a meeting, it does not matter that it is not in Dewsbury or a neighbouring constituency; it is a meeting about the matters of substance, and that should be the source of much merriment for all concerned.

Rail Update

Debate between Chris Grayling and John Bercow
Monday 5th February 2018

(2 years, 7 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Department for Transport
Mr Speaker Hansard
5 Feb 2018, 5:23 p.m.

Order. Just before the Secretary of State responds to the shadow Secretary of State, I must say to the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull East (Karl Turner), who, in his usual fashion, yelled, “It’s a disgrace,” from a sedentary position, that this morning I conducted my weekly Skype session with school students from the Education Centre. They were students of the Herne Bay primary school, one of whom asked me, “Mr Speaker, is there a Member who is particularly cheeky in terms of loud and repeated heckling?” I said, “Well, seeing as you ask, there is a chap called Karl Turner, who is a very agreeable fellow, but he does tend to go from nought to 60 in about five seconds.” I proceeded to educate the pupils of that primary school class in the favoured expressions of the hon. Gentleman—“Shocking” and “It’s a disgrace”—and his ritual exhortation, which fortunately I have not heard today to a Minister, to wit “be’ave”, which he makes while conspicuously failing to do so himself.

Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling - Parliament Live - Hansard
5 Feb 2018, 5:26 p.m.

As we were caught short by the speed of the urgent questions, I know that the hon. Gentleman did not have as much time as he might have wished to prepare, but I am not sure that he listened to a word I was saying. He talked about a bail-out culture, gifts and standing up to people, but I have just announced that we will terminate a contract and that we may bring the operation of this railway back into the system of operator of last resort, which is, if I recall correctly, what Labour did in 2009.

I intend to ensure that I do what offers the best value for the taxpayer and the best option for the passenger at a time when exciting things are happening on this railway. New trains arriving in the coming months will transform the journey for passengers on the route, and that is long overdue. In the next control period, there will be investment in different parts of the route in order to improve performance in places where it is desperately overdue. The future is promising for the passengers on this railway, as they will have a better travel experience in the months to come.

The hon. Gentleman talked about long-term thinking, which is precisely what the east coast partnership is about. It is about unifying track and train in a way that I believe the public of this country want, and people on the railway believe that this will lead to a more efficient railway. The more that we can reunite the day-to-day operation of the track and trains right across the network, the more reliable a railway we will have.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard
5 Feb 2018, 5:30 p.m.

I do not know how long it seemed to the right hon. Gentleman, who is usually quite a patient fellow. Not everybody, I am afraid, is as succinct as the right hon. Gentleman, who has developed it into an art form, but the hon. Member for Kilmarnock and Loudoun (Alan Brown) must do better.

Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling - Parliament Live - Hansard
5 Feb 2018, 5:30 p.m.

We are going to hear a lot today about the public versus private argument. What SNP Members, and indeed Labour Members, have not remembered is that if the investment has to come from the public sector, it competes with money for schools, hospitals and the armed forces. That means that, as happened in the days of British Rail, our rail network is starved of investment, and we saw the consequences. By contrast, the new trains that are shortly going to be arriving in Edinburgh Waverley and going up the east coast to Aberdeen are paid for by the private sector.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Chris Grayling and John Bercow
Thursday 18th January 2018

(2 years, 8 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Department for Transport
Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling - Hansard

Decisions on electrification do not and will not in any way impede safety improvements. We have announced a large amount of money over the next five years, and I am happy to see what we can do to move this issue on rapidly.

Mr Speaker Hansard
18 Jan 2018, 10:35 a.m.

A very short question is required so, of course, I look in the direction of the right hon. Member for New Forest West (Sir Desmond Swayne).

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Chris Grayling and John Bercow
Thursday 30th November 2017

(2 years, 10 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Department for Transport
Mr Speaker Hansard
30 Nov 2017, 9:36 a.m.

I am very glad that the hon. Gentleman has already recovered from his obvious misery at Arsenal’s demolition of his team by five goals to nil last night.

Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling - Parliament Live - Hansard
30 Nov 2017, 9:37 a.m.

A tiny bit below the belt, I think, Mr Speaker, but the hon. Gentleman seems to have weathered the storm pretty well.

The hon. Gentleman will be aware that, notwithstanding issues on the east coast main line, passenger satisfaction on that route has actually improved rather than reduced; indeed, the money flowing to the taxpayer has increased rather than reduced, so he is slightly misjudging the current position.

Break in Debate

Chris Grayling Portrait The Secretary of State for Transport (Chris Grayling) - Hansard
30 Nov 2017, 10:18 a.m.

In the case of the Minister for Transport Legislation and Maritime, my right hon. Friend the Member for South Holland and The Deepings (Mr Hayes), I am sure that we have not had too much of a good thing, Mr Speaker. You will be delighted to know that it is not only the House that has heard extensively from him this week but 175 Ministers from around the world. We have been hosting the biennial meeting of the International Maritime Organisation general assembly in London. The IMO is the specialist United Nations organisation responsible for measures to improve the safety and security of international shipping and to prevent pollution from ships. We host the IMO here in London. I want to thank everyone who has been involved in organising that event and to extend a warm welcome on behalf of the United Kingdom Government to all the Ministers and other delegates who have attended the convention this week.

Mr Speaker Hansard
30 Nov 2017, 10:19 a.m.

I am sure that all those Ministers from around the world feel both informed and improved as a result of their interaction with the Minister for Transport Legislation and Maritime, the right hon. Member for South Holland and The Deepings.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Chris Grayling and John Bercow
Thursday 19th October 2017

(2 years, 11 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Department for Transport
Mr Speaker Hansard
19 Oct 2017, 9:48 a.m.

He mentioned Shipley but it is not sufficient simply to animadvert on Shipley. The question ought to relate to the matter.[Interruption.] Which is a bypass, as somebody has observed, very originally and wittily from a sedentary position.

Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling - Parliament Live - Hansard
19 Oct 2017, 9:49 a.m.

It is worth putting on the record that I have not announced any changes to that programme. There is money for the trans-Pennine modernisation. I am expecting the detailed proposals from Network Rail later this year. However, it is worth saying that we are spending more money on more projects across the north of England than any Government have for decades and decades, including during the 13 years when Labour was in government. It is also worth saying that we have electrified four times as many miles of railway in the north of England alone than Labour did in 13 years in government. So I am not going to take any lessons from Labour Members about commitments to the modernisation of the transport system—in the north or elsewhere.

Monarch Airlines

Debate between Chris Grayling and John Bercow
Monday 9th October 2017

(2 years, 11 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Department for Transport
Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling - Hansard
9 Oct 2017, 4:16 p.m.

I suspect that there will be exactly such a probe, but I also suspect that it will be led by the hon. Member for Nottingham South (Lilian Greenwood) and her Transport Committee. I do not want to gainsay what the Committee will do, but I would expect a rigorous inquiry, and my Department and the CAA will be very happy to co-operate with it.

Mr Speaker Hansard

James Gray.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard
9 Oct 2017, 4:17 p.m.

That was a very speedy recovery from the intoxicating effects of conversation with the right hon. Member for North Shropshire (Mr Paterson), and a very useful guide to new Members on how to perform at a moment’s notice in the way that the hon. Gentleman has done. He did signal earlier that he wished to be called, so I was not picking on him.

Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling - Hansard
9 Oct 2017, 4:18 p.m.

Of all those involved, I feel most deeply for those who made bookings but have now lost trips and holidays. I very much hope that we can get Monarch staff into employment quickly. I hope that we can get all the passengers back safely and well. For those who have lost bookings, it is a deeply traumatic time, and we heard some very sad stories last week. Anyone who booked with ATOL protection or who booked using a credit or debit card will be able to get a refund. My advice to anyone in that position is always to ensure that they have at least one of those cover options available in case something like this happens again—let us keep our fingers crossed that it does not for a very long time.

HS2 Update

Debate between Chris Grayling and John Bercow
Monday 17th July 2017

(3 years, 2 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Department for Transport
Chris Grayling Portrait The Secretary of State for Transport (Chris Grayling) - Hansard
17 Jul 2017, 10:14 p.m.

I am grateful to you for allowing this statement, Mr Speaker. I am pleased to be here in front of the House tonight. As you know, sometimes these things can happen as a result of cock-up rather than conspiracy.

Today marks a major milestone in the Government’s plans to deliver High Speed 2. High Speed 2 will deliver economic growth across the United Kingdom. It will provide the rail network with the capacity we need for the next century, faster journeys and better connections between cities across the UK.

As announced to the House this morning, we will be awarding stage 1 of the main works civil engineering contracts for the phase 1 route from London to Birmingham. This stage primarily covers design and pre-construction activities, although it is worth saying that the initial works have already begun. We expect these contracts to be signed by the end of this month after the completion of the mandatory standstill period. The expected total value of these contracts covering stages 1 and stage 2, which is the full construction phase, is £6.6 billion. They will support around 16,000 jobs across the country and are expected to generate around 7,000 contract opportunities in the supply chain, of which I expect around 60% to go to small and medium-sized enterprises. I have also confirmed the shortlists for the station design contracts and Euston master development partner procurements.

As well as that announcement, today I am introducing the phase 2a High Speed Rail (West Midlands - Crewe) Bill to the House. This seeks the powers to construct HS2 from the west midlands to Crewe so that this important section, which links up to the west coast main line just south of Crewe, can open in 2027.

The design of the route set out in the Bill is largely as announced in 2015. However, there are three refinements I have decided to make, following consultation last year. I have decided to move the connection to the west coast main line and the start of a tunnel in Crewe further south. I have also decided to move the construction railhead, and subsequently the infrastructure maintenance facility for this part of HS2, from the Basford area near Crewe to a location near Stone. I am very sensitive to the impact that that could have on the local community, which my hon. Friend the Member for Stone (Sir William Cash) has diligently drawn to my attention, but I believe this site is a better location from which to construct and maintain phase 2a. The new location near Stone is strategically located midway along the phase 2a route, which means that it can support construction activities heading north and south simultaneously, offering significant programme and construction benefits. Of course, the site at Stone benefits from good transport links, with access to the M6 and the existing rail network right at that location.

In Crewe, moving the railhead from the Basford area avoids planned housing regeneration in that part of Cheshire. It also negates the need for maintenance loops at Pipe Ridware, thereby reducing impacts along the phase 2a route. It is worth saying that that area of Basford is one of Cheshire’s most significant economic development and housing development sites, and I have been very sensitive to that. The construction railhead and infrastructure maintenance facility have been carefully designed so as to minimise impacts locally, particularly on the community of Yarnfield. Having heard local concerns, I have made sure that Yarnfield Lane will remain open.

In preparing the Bill, HS2 Ltd has sought to minimise impacts on the environment and on communities. Following the deposit of the Bill, there will be a consultation on the scheme’s environmental statement. That will provide the opportunity to comment on the environmental effects of the proposed phase 2a scheme and the reasonable alternatives considered and reported by HS2 Ltd. The process will result in a report from an independent assessor, which will be provided to all Members of the House before Second Reading.

Turning to Crewe, the HS2 business case has always included two trains per hour stopping at Crewe. The phase 2a Bill includes the interventions needed to support that, but I know that there is a strong ambition to achieve even more. Today, I am therefore launching a consultation on options to develop a Crewe hub. This work shows how such a service pattern could support an HS2 service to Stoke-on-Trent and bring benefits to places like Chester, north and south Wales, Shrewsbury and Derby. Future decisions will be subject to affordability and value for money. Funding the broader vision for a Crewe hub will require national and local government to work together, but I believe that there is the potential to deliver even more benefits.

Finally today, I am announcing my decision on the outstanding sections of the phase 2b route to Manchester and Leeds, which we consulted on last year. After carefully considering the responses to the consultation, I have decided to confirm the following changes to the route. The western leg rolling stock depot will move from a site near Golborne to a site north of Crewe. That site will be included in the full environmental assessment being undertaken for the whole route and I will look carefully at that assessment.

A 26 km section of the route in the Middlewich and Pickmere area of Cheshire will change and be raised as it passes through the Cheshire salt plains, to avoid brining and gas storage infrastructure. The approach to Manchester Piccadilly station will be adjusted to improve operational efficiency and reduce impacts on residential areas and a primary school. The route near East Midlands airport will now closely follow the eastern side of the A42. This avoids tunnelling under the airport and reduces the impacts on some communities. At Long Eaton, after much consultation with the local community, the route will pass through the town on a high viaduct.

The route in South Yorkshire will be the route we consulted on in 2016, which in part follows the M1 and M18, and serves Sheffield city centre via a spur from the HS2 line. I am also asking HS2 Ltd to take forward the provision of a northern junction back on to HS2, giving a city centre to city centre connection between Leeds and Sheffield in less than 30 minutes. That is very important for the development of Northern Powerhouse Rail. We will also continue to work on a possible parkway station.

Finally, I have decided not to proceed with the proposed change of route to the east of Measham. Instead, I am confirming a modified version of the 2013 preferred route to the west of Measham. In Measham itself, the route is moved approximately 80 metres and the viaduct extended to mitigate commercial property impacts. I have heard the concerns raised by local communities about the proposed eastern leg rolling stock depot at Crofton. HS2 Ltd believes it has found a better option, on which I am now consulting, which is east of Leeds in the Aire valley, adjacent to the M1 on a brownfield site.

I intend to bring forward a third hybrid Bill for phase 2b in 2019. In preparation for that Bill, HS2 Ltd is today launching a consultation on the technical scope and methodology to be used in the environmental and equality impact assessments.

Today’s decisions bring certainty for communities who have been unsure of the route for some years. I am updating the safeguarding directions for the phase 2b route to protect the land required for the construction and operation of the line. I can also confirm that the same range of property schemes currently operating for phases 1 and 2a will be available for phase 2b. This goes over and above what is required by law and gives assistance to those along the line of the route. I have also made amendments to some of the detailed urban/rural boundaries for phase 2b and to the treatment of properties around tunnel portals.

A report published today by property specialists Carter Jonas tells us that the particular circumstance of the Shimmer estate development in Mexborough, South Yorkshire means that this package may not allow some homeowners to acquire a similar property in their local area. In the light of the report’s findings, I therefore also confirm that the Government will ensure that Shimmer homeowners can secure a comparable home, as referred to in my summary document “High Speed Two: From Concept to Reality”, which is also being published today. That is really important.

We need HS2. Since privatisation, the number of passenger journeys on our railways has doubled. It has nearly tripled on the key west coast inter-city corridor. We cannot continue to rely on the legacy of our Victorian forebears, far-sighted though they were. By providing new routes for inter-city services, HS2 will free up space on our existing railways. It will reduce overcrowding and allow options for more varied and frequent services, including for places that currently do not have a good connection to London. This released capacity could allow more freight trains. It could also more than double the current number of peak-time seats on busy services from Manchester Piccadilly towards Stoke and Crewe, and from Leeds towards Wakefield. It has the potential to almost double peak seats from London to Peterborough and east coast destinations further north.

Any significant investment needs to offer good value for money, as HS2 does. Today I am publishing the updated business case for phase 2, which shows that, including the wider economic benefits, the full HS2 network will create £2.30 of benefit for every £1 spent. We want to make the most of our investment in HS2. When phase 1 becomes operational, HS2 trains will run to Manchester, Liverpool, Preston, Warrington, Wigan and Glasgow. Phase 2 will further reduce journey times between London and Glasgow and Edinburgh to around three hours and 40 minutes. To my Scottish colleagues, let me say that we will continue to work with Transport Scotland and Network Rail to look at the best ways of further reducing times, towards an ultimate ambition of a three-hour journey time between London and Scotland. We are also looking at opportunities to use HS2 to support Northern Powerhouse Rail and Midlands Connect.

Finally, I know that today’s announcement will not be welcome news for those living along the line of the route. There will be concern about how HS2 will affect their homes, communities and businesses. That, sadly, is inevitable if we are going to do big projects of this kind for our nation, but I am determined that we will engage extensively with everyone affected and that we will show fairness, compassion and respect. All the products mentioned today are in the Libraries of both Houses.

Our plan for Britain is a plan to build a stronger, fairer country, with an economy that works for everyone—one in which wealth and opportunity are spread across the country and we are set up to succeed in the long term. Investment in economic infrastructure is a key part of this. HS2 will be the new backbone of the UK rail network. It will transform a rail network built for the 19th century into one designed for the 21st century. It will increase capacity and connectivity across our rail network, bring our country closer together and support economic growth. The benefits of HS2 will be felt across the whole of the United Kingdom. I commend the statement to the House.

Break in Debate

Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling - Hansard
17 Jul 2017, 10:40 p.m.

I thank the hon. Lady for her support for the project as a whole. I accept her criticism; I met the HS2 leadership team this week and expressed my concern that that should change. I am absolutely clear that as we go through the process of the hybrid Bill for phase 2a, and the further process for phase 2b, I expect HS2 to do the right thing by the affected communities. I invite any Member of the House to come and see me or the Minister responsible if they feel that that is not happening, and we will seek to ensure that it does.

Mr Speaker Hansard

Order. I do not wish to embarrass an hon. Member by naming the person, but one hon. Member in the Chamber is standing and seeking to catch my eye despite having just arrived, 21 minutes after the statement began, which is, to put it mildly, a tad cheeky.

Break in Debate

Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling - Hansard
17 Jul 2017, 11:08 p.m.

As we get towards the opening of this part of the route in 2033, we will have to make sure that the necessary capacity is available, but as the hon. Gentleman knows, this is the route that Sheffield City Council has argued for. I have accepted that argument. We will have an electrified route that links HS2 and Leeds via Sheffield; that is really important.

Mr Speaker Hansard

Andrew Percy.

Break in Debate

Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling - Hansard
17 Jul 2017, 2:30 p.m.

The answer is that I expect the Crewe hub to be at the current Crewe station. There is huge potential there to develop a much better centre, a much better station and much better capacity around the station. Service patterns will be sorted out in the future, but I expect there to be a regular service, and much better connections to north Wales and elsewhere.

Mr Speaker Hansard

I call Mr Simon Hoare.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Chris Grayling and John Bercow
Thursday 13th July 2017

(3 years, 2 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Department for Transport
Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling - Hansard

I am sure that all the international airlines that operate into and out of the United Kingdom maintain proper safety standards. They are subject to regulation at European and international levels, and they would not be able to use UK airports if we were not confident that they were safe airlines to fly with.

Mr Speaker Hansard

I call Lloyd Russell-Moyle. Not here. I wish he were here. I hope the fellow is all right. Anyway, we move on. I call Rachel Maclean.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard
13 Jul 2017, 10:15 a.m.

Order. Just because the King of Spain visited yesterday and the hon. Gentleman felt it necessary to show off his language skills on that occasion, there was no need for him to do so again, but he obviously felt the need, and we have all seen what an edifying spectacle it was.

Chris Grayling Portrait The Secretary of State for Transport (Chris Grayling) - Hansard
13 Jul 2017, 10:28 a.m.

All three of us have taken part in business questions, so I am sure that you were not totally surprised by that contribution, Mr Speaker.

On a serious note, I pay great tribute to the officers of the British Transport police and the staff of Northern Rail for the way in which they responded to the bomb attack in Manchester. The rail staff in particular, whose job description that was in no way part of, responded heroically, and they deserve our thanks.

Break in Debate

Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling - Hansard
13 Jul 2017, 10:19 a.m.

There has been a long tradition, under Governments of both parties, of a railway where we lease trains from the private sector. There have equally been occasions, as in the procurement of railway carriages for the east coast main line and the great western main line, when the Government have stepped in and taken that decision. We will have to look at which packages are available for those individual schemes. In the case of Merseytravel, the hon. Lady will have to talk to the Labour-controlled Merseyside councils.

Mr Speaker Hansard

It is very good of the new Chair of the Select Committee on Education to drop in on us; we are obliged to him.